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Christmas all wrapped up

Photo by Jessica Lewis on

Dear Sam,


What great Advent Calendar ideas you mentioned in your last post; I’m trying out the  reverse calendar, as there are lots of charities here that I know will be grateful for a parcel of food and essentials to give out over Christmas.

Of course, the other thing we’re busy with during Advent is the buying of gifts and getting the house ready.  I was in a shop in town the other day and their display of seasonal  decorations filled up a whole wall with glittery plastic. Given all the attention this year on avoiding plastic and micro plastic especially, I began to think about alternative ways of decorating and wrapping gifts. There are some fantastic suggestions around and here are some of my favourites:

Ideas for Christmas decorating and wrapping without plastic

Use what you already have – part of the joy of  Christmas for me is opening the box of decorations and rediscovering the old favourites.  Many of our tree ornaments are gifts or things we’ve bought on holiday and it’s part of the fun of decorating to remember where they came from. 

If you want to buy something new, charity shops and craft fairs often sell wooden, fabric or glass ornaments or you could use foliage, branches or berries from the garden or a farmers’ market. Seasonal foods like satsumas, cranberries, chocolates and nuts can make beautiful displays or you could make some biscuits/cookies or popcorn garlands to hang on the tree.  

Making decorations for the tree. Photo by Kaboompics .com on

Rather than plastic tinsel, you can make some from tissue paper – just fold a thick strip of tissue paper in half lengthways and cut a fringe into the edge with scissors. Unfold and you have paper tinsel. If you enjoy crafting, there are lots online tutorials for making garlands and wreaths from wool pompoms.

Wooden decorations give a natural look. Photo by on

If you would miss a bit of sparkle, and want to use glitter, there are lots of eco-friendly options available (search for biodegradable glitter online or ask at a craft shop)

Biodegradable glitter. Image from

To avoid lots of waste at the dinner table, you could use fabric napkins, flowers and candles for your display.

Photo by Todd Trapani on

Rather than using hard-to-recycle gift-wrap, you can cover presents with brown paper and fabric ribbons or coloured string. If you are very clever – you can wrap in fabric using the Japanese technique Furoshiki. I received a gift like this last year wrapped in a lovely tea-towel – beautiful and useful.

Photo by Ylanite Koppens on

Of course, one of the best things about Christmas is celebrating together and so I can’t wait for you to come to stay with me for our friends’ weekend. See you very soon!

Much love,


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